(CBS News) – A new surveillance video is shedding light on a deadly 2017 police shooting of a teenage murder suspect as he tried to run away. It shows then-16-year-old climbing a fence, then falling to the ground after being shot in the back of the head. Now the teen’s parents are suing over his death.
Police said three separate agencies investigated the case and the shooting was ruled justified, reports CBS News correspondent David Begnaud. They said at the time the teen, who was unarmed, was suspected of murder. But the family’s lawyer said just look at the tape.
On April 15, 2017, 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding leaped a fence, running from the police after a traffic stop. He made it eights steps before an officer on the other side of the fence pulled his trigger and shot him. Then Murrietta-Golding was seen crumpling to the ground.
But police said there’s more to the story than just how it ended. Body cam from one of the officers showed it started about a minute earlier when a car driven by Murrietta-Golding’s brother was stopped at a shopping center. They were both suspected of a deadly shooting the day before.
As police ordered, “Down on your knees!” Murrietta-Golding took off running. Police chased him across a road and over a fence where you could hear the fatal shot.
Sgt. Ray Villalvazo, the officer identified in the lawsuit as the one who pulled the trigger, said during the chase, Murrietta-Golding reached for his waist multiple times – and that’s why the sergeant said he feared for his life.
Police said Murrietta-Golding was known to carry a gun, and he was on the grounds of a pre-school when shot.
The mother’s wrongful death suit claims during the foot chase, Murrietta-Golding “never threatened any officer” or made “any threatening gestures,” and that nothing Murrietta-Golding might have done “justified the use of deadly force.”
“You can’t say that every time an officer fires a gun it’s automatically OK. There has to be a line when you say, this is not acceptable. And this is one of those cases,” family attorney Stuart Chandler said.
Fresno police said Stuart Chandler’s then-17-year-old brother, who was in the car with him before the shooting, was arrested and pleaded guilty to the murder the brothers were suspected of committing. The family’s lawyer said that shouldn’t matter.
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